The L.A. Times' hip "Calendar" section, noting that he'd been cast in five films in a year, dubbed him "the ubiquitous Keanu Reeves." But who can even pronounce his name? The 24-year-old actor, en route to Europe to start filming a sixth, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, paused to explain it all. His mom, who's English, is now married to director Paul Aaron; his dad is Chinese-Hawaiian, which is where the name Keanu (kee-ah-noo) comes from. He was actually born in Beirut ("Guess my parents had been doing their thing in the Middle East") and raised in Toronto, where he admits to having failed high school classes in French and acting ("I've always been sort of rambunctious"). Last year's River's Edge launched his Hollywood career; Permanent Record, The Night Before, the current Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and forthcoming The Prince of Pennsylvania followed. Now he's in Paris - "Whoo! It's like my El Dorado!" - and studying French again for his role opposite Glenn Close in Liaisons (also starring John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer), the movie version of the stage hit about depravity among the rich and infamous in 18th Century France. Winning the part surprised Reeves: "When I auditioned for these English dudes, I'd been out biking and had on holey pants and these big boots. I was coming on like Stanley Kowalski." The bad news about Reeves's "dream role": His big love scene with Close was cut out of the script before shooting started. "C'est dommage," says Reeves, his français obviously improving fast.